WILLIAMSTOWN - A group of community members working to make the athletic facilities around the high school better is planning a dinner and auction event for next week. The fifth annual Williamstown Improvement Network's Diamond Dinner and live auction will begin at 5:30 p.m. April 18 at the Williamstown American Legion Post 159 at 201 Central Ave.
"This is the fifth time we have done this and it is our largest fundraiser and we are able to raise about $20,000 each time," said Angie Travis, secretary of the Williamstown Improvement Network. "With this being our fifth time, this dinner could bring us over $100,000 total raised just through the dinners."
The nonprofit organization began with the spring 2009 school semester and includes about 75 members who are teachers, boosters, business owners, firefighters and Williamstown residents.
Members of the group are doing all of the work fundraising and building.
Since its inception, the organization has raised more than $290,000 toward a new fitness and athletic complex, which includes a new weight room, training room, locker rooms for the football and boys track teams, restrooms and showers for athletes, a new coaching offices and public restrooms.
"Our goal is to improve the athletic facilities for the community," said Travis.
The organization has helped repair the homeside bleachers at the football stadium, donated money to resurface the tennis courts, purchased a television for the gymnasium lobby and helped resurface the track. The latest project is to open a new concession stand with construction expected to begin soon, Travis said.
"With the money we raise through this dinner, we will be getting ready to start work on the new concession stand," Travis said.
Along with the dinner, the group has done other fundraisers, including selling a half side of beef, basket bingo and raffles, said Travis.
"We are doing everything we can to raise money and create the best athletic facility we can for the kids and the community," she said.
Tickets for the April 18 Diamond Dinner are $100 for two adults and includes meals, drinks, entertainment, entrance to the auction and a chance to win the drawing for the donated diamond or $3,000 in cash.
The one carat weight diamond to be used in the drawing at the dinner is provided annually by Mel's Diamond House in Vienna, which is owned by Williamstown Mayor Jean Ford.
"She has always been very supportive of what we are doing and each year donates a diamond for us to give away," Travis said.
The winner will have the choice of keeping the loose diamond or taking $3,000 in cash.
For more information about the dinner, contact Williamstown High School athletic secretary Cathy Chadock at 304-375-6151 ext. 205.